Oh boy oh boy oh boy! Our voter's guide showed up in the mail earlier this week, and my ballot just showed up yesterday! Oh, I can't wait to once again scribble in the little circle next to "Barack Obama." And I get to vote for Blumenauer, too! Yay!
But that's not all the excitement we Oregonians have in store for us. Mine is a state that loves itself some ballot measures, and this election is no exception. At least this time, the list is relatively Sizemore-free. If you'd care to explore some of them with me, il buono, il cattivo, il brutto are all down below the orangoboros.
The non-Oregonians among us can play along at home with the online voter's guide. Please do feel free to weigh in if the urge strikes; these things can get pretty murky. Now, on to the ballot measures!
Measure 77 - NO
Summary: Amends Constitution. Currently, Governor has statutory, but not constitutional, authority to declare state of emergency and direct response to emergency. Measure grants Governor constitutional authority to declare and respond to natural or human-caused “catastrophic disaster” (defined). Authorizes Governor to redirect previously allocated General Fund and lottery monies to disaster response. Requires legislative session (under emergency conditions, if necessary) to enact implementing legislation; legislation may include temporarily suspending specified constitutional spending restrictions. Terminates Governor’s disaster spending authority upon enactment of law specifying purposes for which funds may be used. Limits disaster authority of Governor and legislature to 30 days unless legislature acts to shorten/lengthen period; such legislation may include any provision legislature deems necessary to provide “orderly transition” (undefined) to normal conditions. Other provisions.It sounds good, but it amends the constitution and grants the governor and legislature some powers that start to sound kinda scary. I'm always leery of amending the state constitution.
Measure 78 - YES
Result of “yes” vote: “Yes” vote changes constitutional language describing separation of powers to refer to three “branches” (instead of three “departments”) of government; makes other grammatical, spelling changes.Loathe as I am to muck with the constitution, I do love correcting typos and using the best words possible.
Measure 79 - NO
Summary: Amends constitution. Current statutory law prohibits a city, county, district, or other political subdivision or municipal corporation from imposing taxes or fees on the transfer of real estate (with certain exceptions). However, the state legislature has the authority, subject to Governor approval, to impose such taxes and fees or to change current statutory law. Measure prohibits the state and any city, county, district, or other political subdivision or municipal corporation from imposing taxes, fees, or other assessments based upon the transfer of any interest in real property or measured by the consideration paid or received upon the transfer of any interest in real property. Measure exempts from the prohibition any taxes, fees, or other assessments in effect and operative on December 31, 2009. Other provisions.Again, what is with people trying to amend the constitution over every little thing? This is another measure like 37 that sounds all peaches and cream until the reality of it hits. Beyond that, the fact that Kevin Mannix is a supporter is all one needs to know. He's, like, 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon, but with Bill Sizemore instead of Bacon. mmmm...bacon.
Measure 80 - OH HELL YES!
Summary: Currently, marijuana cultivation, possession and delivery are prohibited; regulated medical marijuana use permitted. Measure replaces state, local marijuana laws except medical marijuana and driving under the influence laws; distinguishes “hemp” from “marijuana”; prohibits regulation of hemp. Creates commission to license marijuana cultivation by qualified persons and to purchase entire crop. Commission sells marijuana at cost to pharmacies, medical research facilities and to qualified adults for profit through state-licensed stores. Ninety percent of net proceeds goes to state general fund, remainder to drug education, treatment, hemp promotion. Bans sales to, possession by minors. Bans public consumption except where signs permit, minors barred. Commission regulates use, sets prices, other duties; Attorney General to defend against federal challenges/prosecutions. Provides penalties. Effective January 1, 2013; other provisions.Prohibition is stupid as. That is all.
Measure 81 - NO
Summary: Current law allows commercial salmon fishing in Columbia River only with gillnets; requires recreational salmon fishers’ percentage share of overall salmon catch to be readjusted annually; allows issuing of gillnet permits within limit of 200; recognizes gillnet licenses as valid in Columbia River in both Oregon and Washington waters. Measure bans commercial gillnet fishing by non-tribal fishers in Oregon “inland waters” (defined); requires Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission to permit use of “seine nets” (defined) instead; ensures that recreational salmon fishers’ percentage of overall salmon catch remains at 2007-2011 levels; prohibits purchase of salmon caught by gillnet by non-tribal fishers in Oregon inland waters; prohibits issuing of additional gillnet permits; repeals statute recognizing validity of gillnet licenses in Oregon and Washington waters. Other provisions.I already wrote about this measure here. The measure does nothing to actually preserve salmon stocks and merely shuffles around which organizations get the fish. It's pure, unadulterated poppycock disguised as concern for salmon. Thankfully, they don't seem to be fooling many people.
Measure 82 - NO
Summary: Amends constitution. Currently, Oregon Constitution prohibits the operation of privately-owned, non-tribal casinos within the state. Under measure, State Lottery shall permit the operation of privately-owned casinos within the state, provided that the particular operation is approved through an initiative law. Privately-owned casinos must be located within an incorporated city, and city electors must also approve casino location. The privately-owned casino shall pay 25% of adjusted gross revenues each month to a dedicated state fund for the purposes of fostering job growth, educational achievement, vibrant local communities, protecting and improving natural environment, and supporting all federally recognized Indian tribes in Oregon. Amendment prohibits the operation of privately-owned casino within 60-mile radius of existing tribal casino operating on reservation land.Kitzhaber himself has come out against this one and its companion measure 83. Some former governors of our great state also issued a joint statement against this measure. And again, a huge part of my no vote is that they're targeting the constitution.
Measure 83 - NO
Summary: Currently, Oregon Constitution prohibits privately-owned casinos within state. Under measure, State Lottery shall issue renewable 15-year lease permitting owner of former Multnomah Kennel Club in Wood Village to operate gaming devices, table games, keno, and other games of chance at that site. Measure would become operative only if constitution is amended to permit privately-owned casinos within state. Casino operator shall pay 25% of adjusted gross revenues monthly to State Lottery. Lottery shall deposit 20% of adjusted gross revenues into Job Growth, Education and Communities Fund (separate from general fund), and 80% in State Lottery Fund. Moneys in the Job Growth fund are apportioned to the incorporated cities adjoining casino, Indian tribes, law enforcement, and gambling treatment services. Other provisions.Same as for measure 82.
Measure 84 - NO
Summary: Current state law imposes one-time tax on estate of person dying on/after January 1, 2012, if estate’s gross value—determined by federal law as of December 31, 2010—is at least $1,000,000. Current law taxes income-producing property sales, regardless of parties’ relationship. Measure incrementally phases out estate/inheritance tax, tax on property transfers between “family members” (defined), and tax on property transferred in connection with person’s death; prohibits imposition of such taxes on property of person dying on/after January 1, 2016. Allows state to cooperate with other states and federal government in administering those entities’ estate/inheritance taxes; permits fees on probate and other transactions that may occur following person’s death. Measure reduces state revenues; provides no replacement. Other provisions.Seven words: Kevin Mannix; tax loopholes for the wealthy.
Measure 85 - YES
Summary: Amends constitution. Before each biennium, the governor must prepare an estimate of revenues expected to be received by the General Fund for the next biennium. The General Fund is the primary funding source for schools, prisons, social services other state-funded programs/services. Current law requires an automatic “kicker” refund to taxpayers of corporate income and excise tax revenue that exceeds estimated collections by two percent or more. Measure allocates the corporate income and excise tax “kicker” refund to the General Fund to provide additional funding for K through 12 public education. Measure does not change the constitutional personal income tax “kicker” provision that requires a refund to individual taxpayers when personal income tax revenue exceeds estimated revenue by two percent or more. Other provisions.Oregon has a strange policy known as "the kicker" whereby general funds exceeding budget projections are refunded to taxpayers. This measure would eliminate those refunds for businesses, but retain them for individuals.
And that's about it for state-level measures, near as I can tell. Fellow Oregonians, what are your thoughts on all of this? Anyhoo, I am now off to fill out my own ballot. May I just say: voting by mail !@#$%& rules and every state should adopt it.
Peace out, y'all.